The lights go out

high
Down thataway on the edge of our plaza.

IT WAS 10:30 this morning when my child bride came back from the butcher shop just down the street and told me the electricity would be cut soon and wouldn’t be back on till 2 p.m.

Somebody had told the butcher, and the butcher told her.

Whenever a native tells you something is going to happen at a specific hour, feel free to roll your eyeballs. It could happen at any time.

But turning the electricity off came quickly, about 10 minutes after she returned. Blap! Everything was off. Were it not daytime, we would have been in darkness. As it happened, we were in dimness.

On the rare occasions this happened in Houston, for maintenance, the light company would leave a note on all the houses in the neighborhood the previous day. In Mexico, however, they prefer to surprise you.

Were it not for the butcher, we would have been surprised.

I poked my head out the front gate. There were light-company trucks all over the place. The job at hand was to pull a new cable from down on the left to up on the right, about two long blocks, to the neighborhood plaza.

Electric service in our hardscrabble barrio is pretty reliable. Not as reliable as it was in Houston, but pretty darn reliable, and for a tiny fraction of the price. We pay the peso equivalent of about 12 bucks a month.

The power was restored by 2:20 p.m. Just 20 minutes later than promised.

pole
And just outside the Hacienda’s gate.

10 thoughts on “The lights go out

  1. CFE is light years from where it once was. About 5 years ago, CFE was replacing all of the light poles in my barrio, notifying the affected houses a day or two before. That never would’ve happened 15 years ago.

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    1. Peggy: I’ve read other people in other parts of Mexico complaining about CFE. In these parts, and Mexico City too, I’ve always found it extremely well organized.

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  2. The configuration of all those electrical lines reminds me so much of our time in Belize. They too must use the same handbook of “how to.” Watching a service truck one day was a hair-raising sight. No safety equipment I could see. In fact, the worker shimmied up the electrical pole quicker then he would have with a ladder. All he used was a belt of some sort to reverse rappel up to the top. Resourceful this daring lineman was when his buddy tied a rope to their truck bumper inching forward to make the rope taunt, so the lineman on the pole could pull supplies up to his roosting spot. I think your working crew is a bit more advanced in their methods than our island crew was.

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  3. It sounds like you were out of electricity for a few hours. Lucky you! I have a 2000 W generator for such occasions, which occurs on a weekly basis at our cabin. Not so much in the city although it’s kind of amusing to see how the city folks react to a couple of hours of power outage. I hope we don’t get a real disaster! We’re off to the Bush for a few weeks. Cheers.

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    1. Brent: This maintenance thing is rare. I don’t recall it happening but one other time in the 15 years we’ve lived in this house. So buying a generator wouldn’t be practical. I suppose that were I to go full survivalist I would buy one. A friend here has one. As soon as the municipal power goes out, it cranks up automatically. Hardly misses a beat. Our lights go out now and then, not often and it usually is fairly brief, nothing like the hours of yesterday.

      Enjoy the Bush! And cheers back at you.

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  4. It happened so often at our cottage in Canada that we finally got a whole house generator. Then when the electicity went off the generator automatically came on without a break in service. Our water well ran on an electric pump so no electric, no water, either. Long periods of outage were very inconvenient although Ontario Hydro was “working” on the problem which they first had to find.

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    1. Carole: Yes, a friend has that type of generator. You don’t even notice the regular electricity died. Fortunately, we have very good service where we live, and no cottage in the woods.

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